Who doesn’t want to wake feeling better rested? Good news! It may be simpler than you think. Try out these 5 tips to help you bounce out of bed feeling more refreshed.
1. Learn how to relax and allow yourself time to unwind at regular intervals throughout your day. The inability to relax is a major contributing factor to sleeping difficulties and we need to be mindful of our levels of stimulation throughout or whole day, not just prior to bedtime. This includes managing stress, what we eat and drink and our visual diet too.
2. Develop a pre-bedtime ritual. Choose activities that unwind the mind and body in the hour before bed to pave the way for a better night’s sleep. This includes sleep cues like PJ’s you love, scent, listening to or reading something soothing, some yoga stretches or journaling activities to end the day on a positive note.
3. Work with your sleep window. Get to know your own body clock, noting the number of hours of sleep you need to function well (for most people this is 7-9 hours) and the times that help you best drift off and rise feeling ready for the day. Once you are aware of your needs, be consistent and make getting to bed an active priority. Everything will wait for you and you will be more productive when you are better rested.
4. Don’t stress about being awake. If you have trouble drifting off or find it hard to get back to sleep, don’t worry about being awake. If you can’t sleep, just rest and if relaxing feels challenging then focus your attention on the sensations of your breathing. Sleep, rest, relaxation and natural breathing all stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you heal and re-energise. Don’t count the hours you’ve had or not had. You’ve got what you’ve got and you will sleep again another time. Self-care will see you through.
5. Upon waking in the morning, think of one thing that you happily anticipate in your day. Let your mind linger on it before you even think about getting out of bed. As your feet hit the floor, sit tall and feel the support of the earth beneath you. As you stand, you could spritz a little uplifting scent and take a few mountain breaths paired with the affirmation, I am grateful for this breath, this day, this life. Feel how this transforms the beginning of every day.
If you’d like to explore any of these strategies in finer detail and to hear many more, come along to my workshop on May 7.
You will learn ways of relaxing that take little time, even some activities that you can do at your desk or at the kitchen sink. We will look closely at relaxing the mind and body in building your own soothing pre-bedtime ritual and methods of helping you sleep when it feels illusive, including mantras and breathing exercises. You will leave the workshop armed with your own sleep-boosting toolkit, pre-bedtime yoga sequence and a divine L’Occitane goody, guaranteeing instant calm. Can’t make it to my neck of the woods? Don’t worry, let’s get really bespoke over Skype.
Modern life is undeniably full on and somehow as a society we seem to glorify those who never seem to stop. But this ‘sleep when I’m dead’ stuff has serious ramifications. If we don’t tend to our health – and I’m talking emotional, energetic and mental health as well as our physical body, we run the risk of falling into a heap when life tosses us a curve ball. Curve balls come in all sorts of forms – illness, work stress, relationship issues, and even fabulous things like getting a promotion or falling pregnant. We need to find ways to boost our resilience in the face of these inevitable stressors of life. I’d go even one step further – we need to engage in self-care because it is the cornerstone of happiness and wellbeing, and the means by which we become the kind of people we aspire to be. There is nothing selfish about that.
3 ways to destress in less than 60 seconds:
- Use the mantra: ‘I give myself permission to…’ you fill in the blank. For me, I like to pop in the word ‘rest’. It’s amazing the strife we cause ourselves by resisting the way that we feel, denying what we need or just plain wanting things to be different than they are. Use this mantra to create a little more space around your feelings or to free yourself up from guilt about particular actions. Do what you need to do. Allow yourself to feel as you do. This will diminish your stress.
- Zoom in on beauty or something you find captivating. Take a 60 second break from worry, rumination, problem solving or just plain stressing and take a close look at something awe-inspiring. I love to zoom in on the tiny hairs on my little boys face – helps me restrain from wringing his sweet little neck 🙂 Or gaze on natural beauty around you. Seek it out, get absorbed in it and feel how it transforms your mood.
- Get anchored in your body. When you begin to feel flooded by stress hormones or anger, stop and get connected to your physical body. Feel your feet on the floor, your legs if you are standing and elongate your spine. Seek out areas of tension – you are likely to find it in your forehead, eyes, jaw, shoulders, neck and hands. Soften any clenching you find. Next, feel your breathing. See if you can relax into the sensation of breathing and allow your breath to move freely through you. Notice how just anchoring your attention on your body and breath can help you disentangle yourself from stress.
Repeat after me: self-care isn’t selfish.
Do you wake feeling refreshed?
Did you know that research suggests that getting to sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am is more replenishing than any other 8 hour period.
Find it hard to disentangle yourself from the busyness of your day? Try my 2 minute guided relaxation before your head hits the pillow. You can reach it by clicking here.
5 tips to better sleep:
1. As you lay down to sleep, set the intention of giving yourself permission to rest. If you are distracted use the mantra: “it is just time for me to rest”.
2. Keep it consistent: aim for the same bed time and rise time each day where possible.
3. Make sure you’re getting enough. Make the commitment to getting adequate sleep and let it be a genuine priority.
4. Switch off your mobile and other electronic devices. Eliminate as much light as possible. Wear an eye mask if need be.
5. Try some gentle breath work or stretching before going to bed to disentangle your mind and body from the busyness of your day.
If poor sleep or fatigue persist, I can help you. Get in touch: email@example.com